spicy cod & tomato curry

Spicy cod & tomato curry
Spicy cod & tomato curry

I first tried this tasty fish dish on a warm summer’s evening while catching up with one of my oldest pals at her beautiful home in the New Forest. Although heavily pregnant at the time, I was far from blooming or radiant, having spent several months immersed in a fog of nausea and tiredness. Fortunately though, there were still a few things I enjoyed eating, and fish was one of them.

As my friend and I chewed the fat and reminisced in the dimming light, her husband prepared this deliciously light spicy curry, which turned out to be exactly what my taste buds had been crying out for. The fresh, fragrant tomato-based sauce is packed with flavour and because the cod loins are baked in the sauce, the fish remains perfectly chunky and moist. It’s probably a little on the hot side for younger palates, so perhaps leave out the cayenne pepper if you’re catering for little ones.

This is now one of my go-to recipes when we have guests over for dinner. I usually make the sauce in advance so that prior to serving the meal, all I have to do is prepare the fish, heat up the sauce and bake the whole lot in the oven. It goes really well with a mixture of basmati and wild rice, but you could serve it with almost any type of rice or just some good-quality naan bread.

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Spicy cod & tomato curry
  1. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Dry fry ½ tsp cumin seeds for 2-3 minutes. Crush with a pestle and mortar along with the remaining 2 tsp cumin seeds, and set aside.
  2. Chop the onion very finely. I use a food processor for this so that the onion has the texture of a rough purée.
  3. Heat the oil in the frying pan over a medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the fennel and mustard seeds and fry for 2-3 minutes until they pop.
  4. Add the onion and fry for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the garlic to the frying pan and fry for a further 2-3 minutes until the mixture is soft and golden.
  6. Add the crushed cumin seeds, cayenne pepper and garam masala to the frying pan. Season well with salt and stir.
  7. If you want to create a smoother sauce, blend the tinned tomatoes in a food processor. Add the tinned tomatoes to the frying pan along with 50 ml water and stir. Cover the mixture, bring to the boil and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 6.
  9. Mix the turmeric with ½ tsp salt in a small bowl. Pat the fish with kitchen paper to dry it. Sprinkle the turmeric and salt mixture over the cod, making sure that you cover the whole area. Place in a medium-sized baking dish.
  10. Pour the hot sauce over the fish and bake uncovered for 13-15 minutes. When the fish is ready, you should be able to flake it apart easily with a knife and fork.
  1. Serve the fish pieces on plates or in bowls and pour over the remaining sauce. Then sprinkle over the coriander.
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3 thoughts on “spicy cod & tomato curry”

  • Hi Lorna, I’ve been using yellow/white mustard seeds. I’ve had a quick look online and the main difference seems to be that black mustard seeds have a stronger flavour. Since the dish is meant to be quite flavoursome, I reckon black mustard seeds would work really well too. If you try this, let me know how it turns out!

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